New standard aims to increase quality of market research


17 April 2009

Are you looking for accurate and reliable information about what your customers think? BSI British Standards has recently published a new standard for owners and users of access panels.

Access panels are sample pools of potential respondents which can be drawn on for future data collection, and are key tools in market, opinion and social research. The new standard, developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and published in the UK by BSI, supports this process by providing definitions and requirements to increase the quality and efficiency of access panels and the information they produce.

Access panels can involve thousands of respondents completing a research questionnaire on any subject, and are usually commissioned from an access panel provider by a private or public sector organization wishing to enhance their understanding of the market or specific audience. Incentives are often offered to participants and access panels take advantage of the latest technology to extend their outreach, which can make them more cost effective than more conventional strategies.

BS ISO 26362: 2009 Access panels in market, opinion and social research – Vocabulary and service requirements provides guidelines for good practice in the creation and operation of access panels. Recruitment is considered, along with recommendations on the size and structure of the panel. Recommendations on the prevention of fraudulent behaviour by participants are also provided and include validation of identity at the recruitment stage and the authentication of data. The standard also covers the reporting of information back to the client and the responsibilities of the operator to the panel members.

Debrah Harding, Deputy Director General at the Market Research Society, said: “Access panels have become a vital tool for accessing research respondents. By introducing BS ISO 26362, we can ensure that the growing volume of research conducted using access panels is consistent and undertaken to the highest standards. BS ISO 26362 complements the main international quality standard for market, social and opinion research, BS ISO 20252: 2006, which sets the quality benchmark for all research processes.”

Mike Low, Director of BSI British Standards, said: “BS ISO 26362 is an excellent addition to the existing standards BSI publishes for the UK service sector. It will enable organizations to find out more about their client base and potential customers in the knowledge that the information is as reliable as possible. For companies operating internationally, the fact that there is now an internationally recognized standard in this area will enable comparison of results across different regions.”

BS ISO 26362:2009 is based on, and should be used in conjunction with, BS ISO 20252:2006 Market, Research and Social Opinion. Vocabulary and service requirements, which replaced BS 7911. BS ISO 26362 will feed into the next revision of BS ISO 20252, due in 2010.

Find out more and buy a copy of BS ISO 26362 at the BSI Shop